WCS 2014: Innovating to change
The IATA World Cargo Symposium (WCS) keeps being the premier event within the cargo industry. In its 8th edition, the event attracted to Los Angeles a record attendance of more than one thousand delegates from all the supply chain to discuss how innovation can be the motor of transformation for the air cargo industry.
Towards 48-hour transit times’ reduction
Even if the prospects for the industry are improving, the business has been mostly stagnated since 2008. Bringing value to the air cargo industry is one of the pillars to benefit for any economic upturn. Cutting average transit times up to 48 hours by the end of the decade will not only increase its value proposition, but also enable air cargo to arrest modal shift and drive new efficiencies for the business.
While passenger side of aviation has gone through major changes in recent decades, air cargo processes have changed very little since 1960. Transit times are no faster than 40 years ago, with the average end-to-end time for consignments around 6-7 days. By implementing paperless operations, improving information sharing with regulators, reviewing ground operations, speeding up the end-to-end service is an achievable goal.
2014, a challenging year for air cargo
The next months will be a decisive moment to increase air cargo value. “Quality” should be the watchword for the industry in 2014, and the aim should be to improve the reliability and consistency of its services. Among the key objectives for 2014 are:
- To reach 22% electronic air-waybill (e-AWB) global penetration
- A Facilities Matrix, that will begin its first pilot in 2014, with the aim to iron out inconsistencies in the provision of cargo handling infrastructure worldwide, such as cool-chain facilities
- The Cargo 2000 Master Operating Plan (MOP) will be extended over the entire cargo supply chain, not just the airport-to-airport element
- To ensure airline compliance with EU ACC3 regulation through independent security validation at appropriate stations
One of the achievements reached at this edition of WCS is the adoption by the Cargo Services Conference (CSC) of the Carbon Emissions Measurement Methodology (pdf) for air cargo. This will help to harmonize efforts to measure emissions and is in line with the industry goal for carbon-neutral growth from 2020.
The CSC also endorsed the Roadmap to 100% e-AWB strategy; IATA members stressed that the industry must focus on fully achieving the e-freight vision. Creating a completely paperless supply chain is a key step to transform the air cargo service proposition and simplify the processes. This is essential to aid the fight back against modal shift and to remove industry criticism.
Finding a future for the industry
In 2015, WCS will be held in Shanghai and hosted by China Eastern. The 9th edition will include for the first time the Air Cargo Innovation Awards, an initiative to encourage entrepreneurial ideas for the air cargo industry and bring fresh ways of looking at the business. Participants can send their ideas until 30 November 2014 to have a chance of winning USD 20,000 and benefit from promotional opportunities.